God and Victory World Church are rocking my world and turning my world upside down. First, Peru, and now, Atlanta!
After our Peru Team reunion today of eating Chinese food and watching X-men, we went to Quick Trip. Fusion, the church's young adults ministry, is doing something called Fusion on Tour. Instead of meeting for their weekly large group, they are going out into the city of Atlanta to share God's love.
Part of Fusion on Tour is something called the Gas Groupon, where as a group, we bless a random pump at the gas station by prepaying for a pump's gas. Originally, we were going to put $13 at pump #7 and #13 each, but the guy messed up and put $26 on #7. We saw a white van drive up to our pump and an Asian woman stepped out.
"Hi we're with Victory World Church and we just wanted to bless you by prepaying for your gas."
"What? Really?" The woman looked bewildered as tears welled up in her eyes. She only had $12 in her hands for gas.
"Yes, God really wanted to bless you tonight."
We found out that she's from Vietnam and her name is T. She thanked us and asked where our church was, and we gave her an address. She hugged us and said she'd come visit the church :) Then we parted ways.
Right when we thought we'd be calling it a night, another Asian man walks up to us. He's also from Vietnam, and he says he doesn't speak English very well, and tries telling us that he needed money to take the bus home. He pulled out a sheet of paper and told us that he was just in jail for the last 3 months in one area of Atlanta, and came out with no money to get back to his home in Marietta. He said he had been walking a long time, and he was hungry, and just wanted to get home to his apartment.
"Ok sir. We'd love to help. There's a McDonald's next door, can we take you to get something to eat? Also, it is too late for any of the buses to be running to Marietta tonight. Let us get you a taxi back home. Do you know the name of your apartment?"
He said he didn't know the address or the name of the apartment complex since his English isn't very good. We asked if he had any family there, and he said no, but he lived with his friend who hadn't been answering any of his calls and his kids are in Vietnam. He asked us again for money to take the bus back to Marietta. When we continued to offer him a meal and a taxi ride, he finally said, "Please, I just want to see my kids!"
"What are your kid's names?"
"Oh, just one?"
We knew that the man had been making up his story and it had been falling apart on him. Finally, we told him that we wanted to help, and we could take him to eat at McDonald's, but that's it. After that, he said, "No, I'll just walk." We prayed for him, and he left.
PHEW! What a night! I'm so so grateful that I found people who can challenge me like this post-graduation. And they did it so lovingly and graciously. Oh man. They never called him out on his lies, and didn't give him money straight up so that he could use it to feed bad habits. Instead, we just offered pure generosity and help.
Someone made the observation that the responses of these two people are so contrasting. That one welcomed and appreciated our offer and the other rejected our offer. This can be found in many parables that Jesus tells, and they usually point to the open one gets to know and be with God, and the hard hearted ends up gnashing their teeth for eternity. Mmm gotta love late night lessons at Quick Trip!